The professor was terribly kind to give me a job as her assistant on her great exploratory backyard safari.
We had an important mission, a mission of discovery in lands of danger.
First up, the incredibly rare Knockout Rose. The professor discovered that it was possible to determine where old blossoms had been.
It was an important scientific development, but not nearly as important as the realization that “roses provide bees.” So important was this new scientific understanding that the professor decided to make a short note of it in her special notebook.
Yet nature is full of surprises, like sleeping lightening bugs,
and mushrooms growing under a stand of Leyland Cypresses.
My job was simple: do whatever the professor required. I held the sample case and made a record of each location the professor took a sample.
What was best was all the free lectures I received. The professor is a generous teacher, and she explained many mysteries as we wandered about our backyard and the neighbor’s.
Throughout the day, the professor also conducted experiments. Finding a seed pod from a sweet gum tree, she made a most scientific declaration. “My hypothesis is that it won’t float,” she declared, marching over to the small stream that forms our lower property line.
She tossed it in, watched it bob about, then summarized the experiment with true scientific objectivity: “My hypothesis was wrong.”
“That provides water from the toilet.”
But some of the time, the professor simply observed.
“What about pay?” I asked, knowing I’d already been paid many times over by just being present with her.
“Well, we can pick some berries,” she replied.